Hawaii's number one industry could suffer because of sewage spil - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Hawaii's number one industry could suffer because of sewage spill

WAIKIKI (HawaiiNewsNow) -

The closure of Waikiki Beach is gaining national and international attention and tourism officials hope it doesn't slow a record-breaking year.

Media outlets are reporting on the spill of 500,000 gallons of raw sewage and how it's affecting Hawaii's crown jewel.

CBS News Travel Editor, Peter Greenberg, says even if the real impact is only for a few days, the damage can be long term. 

"It's very difficult to build a brand and very easy to lose one," says Greenberg, "If they don't get the information out right away, they're going to suffer, especially perhaps in the Asian markets which react very, very, rapidly to fear."

Mufi Hanneman, who was Mayor during a much-bigger, 48-million gallon sewage spill in 2006,  is now with the Hawaii Lodging and Tourism Association.  He says damage control includes notifying people that Waikiki beach will be back open soon, and in the meantime, there are many other popular places unique to Hawaii.

"Yes,we're known for our sun sand sea and surf, but we have other attractions that they can go to while they have to stay out of the water," says Hanneman, "We have great attractions on the north shore... there's Pearl Harbor, P.C.C., Arizona Memorial, Punchbowl."

Hanneman says he hopes the competition doesn't capitalize on Hawaii's recovery from the sewage spill.

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